HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M LEAH JOHNSON..
AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..
THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
MACON MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT IS PRESENTING NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET TO CITY COUNCIL TONIGHT.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN IS AT MACON CITY HALL FOR THE MAYOR'S PRESENTATION... SHE'S JOINING US NOW WITH AN UPDATE.
eleanor talks about the macon 2012 fiscal budget presentation
THANK YOU ELEANOR...
ELEANOR WILL HAVE MORE TONIGHT ON EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS.. HOUSTON COUNTY'S PROPOSED SCHOOL BUDGET CONTAINS NO FURLOUGHS FOR TEACHERS.
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCE STEPHEN THUBLIN SAYS ITS AN INDICATION OF ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT...
BUT AS HE TOLD LORRA LYNCH JONES... HE'S NOT CLOSING THE BOOKS ON TOUGH TIMES JUST YET.
LESAN KIMBRO SAYS SHE ALWAYS KNEW SHE WANTED TO TEACH.
LeSan Kimbro (25:40) "My mother taught, my grandmother taught. I think it's in my blood."
SHE DIDN'T DO IT TO GET RICH...
LeSan Kimbro: (26:25) "This is not the job for that."
BUT FURLOUGHS THE PAST TWO YEARS... A TOTAL OF TEN DAYS UNPAID... CAUGHT THIS MIDDLE SCHOOL LANGUAGE ARTS TEACHER... OFF GUARD.
LeSan Kimbro: (27: 00) "We had to make some budget cuts at home."
KIMBRO'S CRUNCH.. CAME FROM BIG CUTS TO THE BOARD'S BUDGET.
Lorra Lynch Jones: (43:15) "Assistant Superintendent of Finance Stephen Thublin says since 2002, the state cut a total of 215 million dollars, but this year he's seeing slight signs of improvement."
Stephen Thublin: (38:15) "We're not having the amount of cuts we've had to endure in the past."
THUBLIN SAYS THE NUMBERS SHOW IT'S LIKELY FURLOUGHS WON'T BE NEEDED.... AND 35 NEW POSITIONS WILL BE CREATED.
BUT STEP INCREASES IN PAY FROM THE LOCAL LEVEL... WILL NOT BE LIKELY.... AND NOT IN THE PROPOSED BUDGET.
Stephen Thublin: (39:50) "But we're looking at all the revenue sources and might be able to make an adjustment there."
KIMBRO SAYS THE TIGHT TIMES TAUGHT HER A LESSON...
LeSan Kimbro: (28:30) "We're still going to be on a tight budget at home because you never know."
SHE'S HAPPY TO HEAR FURLOUGH'S AREN'T WRITTEN IN...
nats- "Analyze the behavior of the characters as the cope with this uncertainty."
BUT SHE'S NOT FEELING FINANCIALLY SECURE... AT LEAST NOT YET.
>> THUBLIN SAYS THE TEACHERS WILL RECEIVE THEIR STATE MANDATED STEP INCREASES... BUT NOT THE LOCAL STEP INCREASES.
THAT'S THE SAME AS LAST YEAR.
THE BOARD VOTES ON THE BUDGET IN JUNE.
SOME LOCAL AND STATE OFFICIALS SAY A RAPID COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE BETWEEN MACON AND ATLANTA IS STILL A PRIORITY.
MACON REPUBLICAN MAYORAL CANDIDATE DAVID COUSINO SAYS HE'S IN FAVOR OF THE RAIL.
HE ALSO WANTS TO CREATE A HUB FOR THE RAIL AT WESTGATE MALL ON EISENHOWER PARKWAY.
HE TALKED ABOUT RAIL SERVICE AND OTHER TOPICS DURING THIS WEEK'S CLOSE-UP PROGRAM.
David Cousino, Mayoral Candidate: It sits upon a hill. Trains could come right up under ground like they do overseas. and come right in and then shoot right back out. You can north, east, south and west right outside of that area.
SO FAR.. COUSINO IS THE ONLY REPUBLICAN MAYORAL CANDIDATE.
FOUR DEMOCRATS ARE IN THE RACE... CURRENT MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT.. STATE SENATOR ROBERT BROWN.. FORMER MAYOR C. JACK ELLIS.. AND FIREFIGHTER PAUL BRONSON.
YOU CAN CATCH CLOSE-UP AT NOON SATURDAY AND AT SIX A-M SUNDAY ON WMAZ.
KIDS WILL HAVE TO SPEND A LITTLE MORE TIME IN THE BOOSTER SEAT.
YESTERDAY... GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SIGNED A BILL... CHANGING THE AGE REQUIREMENT FROM SIX TO EIGHT... IF THEY DON'T MEET HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS.
THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE CHILDREN WHO WEIGH AT LEAST 40 POUNDS OR STAND AT LEAST FOUR FEET NINE INCHES.
THE LAW GOES INTO EFFECT ON JULY FIRST.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS...
WHO SHOULD SET CAR SEAT AGE REQUIREMENTS?
SO FAR... 65 PERCENT OF YOU SAY PARENTS SHOULD SET THE REQUIREMENTS... WHILE 35 PERCENT SAY IT SHOULD BE THE GOVERNMENT.
TO VOTE.. VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM.
LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE.
PEOPLE LIVING IN 25 GEORGIA COUNTIES...AFFECTED BY THE TORNADOES LATE LAST MONTH... INCLUDING MONROE AND LAMAR.. CAN SOON APPLY FOR DISASTER FOOD ASSISTANCE.
FEMA APPROVED THE PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE STORMS WHO NORMALLY WOULDN'T QUALIFY FOR FOOD STAMPS.
IF YOU LIVE IN ONE OF THE APPROVED COUNTIES... YOU HAD DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME... LOST FOOD AND INCOME... AND MEET INCOME ELIGIBILITY... YOU CAN APPLY FOR THE ASSISTANCE. .
IF YOU LIVE IN LAMAR OR MONROE COUNTY... YOU CAN APPLY AT THE D-FACS OFFICE IN BARNESVILLE NEXT TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.
THE OFFICE WILL BE OPEN 8 A-M UNTIL 6 P-M.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHETHER YOU QUALIFY... YOU CAN CALL 866-371-8222.
TOMORROW IS THE THREE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOTHER'S DAY TORNADOES THAT SWEPT THROUGH CENTRAL GEORGIA...
THE CLEAN-UP WAS A LONG PROCESS FOR MANY HOMES AND BUSINESSES... AND IN SOME NEIGHBORHOODS... THE STORM'S MARK IS STILL THERE.
VANESSA RUFFES SHOWS YOU WHERE THERE'S BEEN MUCH PROGRESS... AND WHERE THERE'S STILL WORK TO DO.
NATS, walking through brush
THREE YEARS AFTER A TORNADO DEVASTED ARROWHEAD PARK... DIRECTOR DOUG FURNEY SAYS ALL THAT'S LEFT TO REBUILD IS A BIKE TRAIL.
"This park's totally, completely different. It's not the same park."
IN FACT... HE SAYS... IT'S BETTER...
"We made the campsites much wider, deeper. We added eleven pull-through sites we didn't have before."
FURNEY SAYS THE IMPROVEMENTS WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED... WITHOUT THE INSURANCE MONEY FOR THE STORM DAMAGE... AND NOW HE SAYS BUSINESS IS BOOMING..
"The storm is bad, and it took us a long time but it was actually a blessing in disguise."
Standup "Things may be on the mend at Lake Tobesofkee but here in the Bloomfield neighborhood some homes are still boarded up."
NEIGHBORS ON MCEVOY DRIVE SAY MOST HOUSES HERE TOOK A HIT... BUT WERE QUICKLY REPAIRED.
ALL... EXCEPT THIS ONE.
"They left when the storm came and we haven't seen them anymore..."
JO DIAL LIVES ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE VACANT HOME... WHICH SHE SAYS HAS BECOME A BLIGHT ON THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
"We've been trying, through a lot of help, to get somebody to do something about it because it is a neighborhood eyesore!"
AN EYESORE... AND A DAILY FRUSTRATION... SHE SAYS.
WITHOUT THE RESOURCES TO FIX IT UP... SHE SAYS THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS FORCED TO KEEP THE CRUMBLING REMINDER OF A BRUTAL STORM... WHILE TIME AND EVERYONE ELSE MOVES ON.
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> BIBB COUNTY E-M-A OFFICIALS SAY... THE TORNADO THAT TORE THROUGH THE COUNTY CUT A "SPORADIC" PATH 18 MILES LONG... CAUSING 4 POINT 7 MILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGES.
ONE GROUP HOPES TO ENCOURAGE GIRLS TO TRY OUT CAREERS THEY MAY NOT HAVE CONSIDERED BEFORE.
THIS SUMMER.. BIBB SCHOOLS PLAN TO HOST THE MAGIC ... OR... *MENTORING - A - GIRL - IN - CONSTRUCTION* CAMP.
THE CAMP INTRODUCES HIGH SCHOOL AGE GIRLS TO JOBS IN CONSTRUCTION.
THE CAMP RUNS JULY EIGHTEENTH THROUGH TWENTY-SECOND.
IT'S FREE FOR STUDENTS.
GIRLS LEARN HOW TO BUILD A LAMP AND HOW TO USE POWER TOOLS.
BIBB SCHOOLS' COORDINATOR FOR NON-TRADITIONAL CAREERS MARYBETH BARNES SAYS... FEMALES OCCUPY ONLY 8 PERCENT OF CONSTRUCTION JOBS.
MaryBeth Barnes, Bibb Career Coordinator: "Why not construction, you're working with your hands all day long in construction, you're seeing something that you start from ground zero and you complete a project. It's a fantastic opportunity for a lot of girls."
IT'S FREE TO SIGN UP FOR MAGIC CAMP.
HIGH SCHOOL - AGE GIRLS CAN ALSO SIGN UP FOR A FREE AUTO CAMP TO LEARN BASIC CAR CARE.
FOR MORE INFORMATION... VISIT OUR WEBSITE... 13 WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON THE HOMEPAGE.
VETERANS... FAMILY... AND FRIENDS CAME OUT TO MILLEDGEVILLE THIS AFTERNOON TO CELEBRATE THE EXPANSION OF THE VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETERY.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... FOR ONE MILLEDGEVILLE NATIVE... COMING TO THE CEMETERY BRINGS BACK BITTERSWEET MEMORIES.
FOR VETERANS... SOME OF THE PATRIOTIC TUNES... HIT HOME.
Nats, veteran singing
AND FOR ONE NAVY VET... THE ANTHEM... BRINGS BACK MEMORIES... OF THOSE CLOSEST TO HIM.
Thomas Peavy, Columbus: "There's a sense of reunion when one comes to a place like this."
A YOUNGER BROTHER... AND AN OLD HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND... BURIED HERE.
Thomas Peavy: "Ronnie and I were the guards on the football team."
THE MEMORIES... BRING HIM BACK.
Thomas Peavy: "It's an opportunity to say hello to an old classmate, to say I appreciate what you did."
AND WITH AN EXPANSION OF NEARLY 3 THOUSAND MORE BURIAL SPOTS FOR VETERANS AND THEIR SPOUSES... MORE FAMILY MEMBERS CAN DO JUST THAT.
Russell Feagin, Director:
Thomas Peavy: "The first thing I do is put my hand on them; putting a hand on the headstone is like putting a hand on the shoulder."
WORKERS SAY THE EXPANSION WRAPPED UP A MONTH AHEAD OF SCHEDULE... AND ABOUT A DOZEN VETERANS... ARE ALREDY BURIED IN THE CEMETERY'S ADDITION.
VETERANS FROM ALL OVER... CAME OUT TO CELEBRATE THE DEDICATION... IN HONOR OF THOSE BURIED IN THE CEMETERY'S ADDITION... AND IN REMEMBERENCE OF THOSE WHO PASSED LONG AGO.
Thomas Peavy: "Childhood memories, growing up together, fishing, hunting. Being the big brother to this guy-- he was my little brother."
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE ADDITION TO VETERANS CEMETERY COST ROUGHLY 1 POINT 8 MILLION DOLLARS.
DIRECTOR RUSSELL FEAGIN SAYS MOST OF THAT MONEY COMES FROM THE GOVERNMENT.
THE EXPANSION IS EXPECTED TO PROVIDE ENOUGH BURIAL SPACE FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS.
THE TRAVELING NASA EXHIBIT BLASTED INTO MACON TODAY AT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND SCIENCES.
IT GAVE PEOPLE A FIRSTHAND GLIMPSE AT GADGETS USED BY ASTRONAUTS.
THE FREE... ONE DAY EVENT IS ON A THREE WEEK TOUR AROUND THE EAST AND OFFERS A LOOK AND FEEL OF A THREE BILLION YEAR OLD MOON ROCK... ONE OF EIGHT IN THE WORLD.
THE DISPLAY TEACHES PEOPLE THE IMPORTANCE OF SPACE TRAVEL AND EVEN LETS THEM STEP INSIDE OF THE SUIT.
NASA EMPLOYEE... SAMUEL GUERRA TELLS US WHAT THEIR MISSION IS
Samuel Guerra, NASA employee "We would like them to come in and give them further insight as to what exactly is going on let them know that anyone could do any of these things if they put their mind to it like I said to drive advances in science, technology and exploration."
GUERRA SAYS NASA IS CURRENTLY TESTING A ROBONAUT... A ROBOT THAT WOULD ASSIST ASTRONAUTS DURING SPACE TRAVEL.
HE SAYS THE ROBOT... THAT LOOKS SIMILAR TO THE IRON MAN CHARACTER... WOULD BE AN EXTRA SET OF HANDS DURING MISSIONS.